India's Hindustan Petroleum posts biggest jump in quarterly profit in 9 years

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BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian state-owned oil refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd on Friday said it posted its biggest quarterly profit in nine years, helped by a fall in crude prices and higher refinery margins.

Net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31 jumped about 80% to 32.23 billion rupees ($394.1 million) from 17.95 billion rupees a year earlier, according to a stock exchange filing.

Sale of products grew nearly 8.6% to 1.14 trillion rupees, with domestic sales rising to 10.92 million metric tonnes (MMT) from 10.26 MMT a year earlier.

Indian refiners' crude oil processing stayed near all-time highs in March, catering to solid seasonal demand as fuel consumption jumped to a record high, driven by robust economic activity in the world's third-largest oil consumer.

The Mumbai-based company also said that its average gross refining margin - profit from making refined products from one barrel of oil - was $14.01 per barrel for the quarter, compared to $12.44 per barrel a year ago.

In March, oil prices slumped to their lowest in more than a year, a positive for refining companies that import crude oil as their raw material.

Brent crude prices have fallen nearly 49% from a peak last year, helping lift oil companies' marketing margins.

Hindustan Petroleum in its statement said that energy transition initiatives will be consolidated under a new company, adding that it will also explore carving out its lubricants business.

The company is the first among its state-run peers, including refiner Indian Oil Corp and oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corp, to report quarterly results.

Shares of Hindustan Petroleum closed 0.91% up ahead of results on Friday.

($1 = 81.7800 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Hritam Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)